Loew’s Wonder Theaters

Featured Story

Behind the Scenes, Features, History, New Jersey

Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Rapp and Rapp, Journal Square theater, Journal Square history, Loew's Jersey City, Loew's Wonder Theatres, Wonder Theatre Jersey City, Jersey City historic theater

“The wealthy rub elbows with the poor — and are better for this contact,” said architect George Rapp of his Loew’s Jersey and Kings Theatres–two of the five Loew’s Wonder Theatres built in 1929-30 around the NYC area. The over-the-top, opulent movie palaces were built by the Loew’s Corporation not only to establish their stature in the film world but to be an escape for people from all walks of life. This held true during the Great Depression and World War II, but by the time the mid-60s hit and middle-class families began relocating to the suburbs where megaplexes were all the rage, the Wonder Theatres fell out of fashion.

Amazingly, though, all five still stand today, each with their own unique preservation tale and evolution. The Loew’s Jersey, located in the bustling Jersey City hub of Journal Square, has perhaps the most grassroots story. After closing in 1987, the building was slated for demolition, but a group of local residents banded together to save the historic theater. They collected 10,000 petition signatures and attended countless City Council meetings, and finally, in 1993, the city agreed to buy the theater for $325,000 and allow the newly formed Friends of the Loew’s to operate there as a nonprofit arts and entertainment center and embark on a restoration effort. Twenty-five years later, the theater is almost entirely returned to its original state and offers a robust roster of films, concerts, children’s programs, and more.

6sqft recently had the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Loew’s Jersey Theatre with executive director Colin Egan to learn about its amazing evolution and photograph its gilded beauty.

Take a tour of this one-of-a-kind historic gem

Daily Link Fix

Loew's Kings Theatre, Loew's Wonder Theatres
  • This video by the Office of NYCMedia takes us inside the city’s five Loew’s Wonder Theatres. [Untapped]
  • Get your kicks this summer at the Brooklyn Museum with a new “Sneaker Culture” exhibit. [DNAinfo]
  • Here’s the oldest film showing NYC being destroyed by a monster. [Gothamist]
  • Check out this video about the inspirational art inside One World Trade Center‘s lobby. [CBS]
  • Hear from one New Yorker who’s on a quest to Instagram the city’s best building numbers. [Curbed]
  • The children who defied the rules to play in the snow on Capitol Hill. [Atlantic]

Images: Loew’s Kings Theatre © Matt Lambros for After the Final Curtain (L); Building numbers © Will Sharon (R)

Flatbush, History

Loew's Kings Theatre, Loew's Wonder Theatres

After nearly four decades of sitting vacant, the majestic Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush will reopen. It was announced in 2010 that the 1920s movie palace would be restored to its former gilded glory thanks to a $70 million renovation, and now it’s been revealed that the reopening will take place in January 2015.

The theatre closed in 1977, but according to a press release, the new Loew’s Kings Theatre “will serve as both a cultural and economic cornerstone for the Brooklyn community, presenting more than 200 performances annually—including music, dance, theatre, and comedy—providing a resource to foster and support creativity in the area, creating jobs and attracting thousands of visitors to the neighborhood.” It will also have 3,000 seats, making it the largest theatre in Brooklyn.

Take a look at the stunning, historic interiors

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.